S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Here's how much fun we had for $55.

We rented a 160cc motorcycle, as did Amanzi and Savvy. The five of us rode (on three bikes) through the lush mountains to a beachside shack, had beer and espresso, left paved roads behind and rode through banana fields and tiny settlements to another beach, had an enormous lunch of fish, crab, octopus, squid, fried plantains, fried potatoes, and much cerveza. We paid for two ferries across the river, and made one crossing through shallow water unassisted. We returned and had a dinner at the yacht club of burgers, chicken, and more cerveza. Total cost: $55 for the two of us for the day.

Now for the details.

This is by far the best riding I've ever done. We rode on some paved roads, but most was on dirt. A few parts were pure mud. Once, when our bike became mired, a local boy stopped his bike and, without a word, helped pull me out. All I could say was "Gracias." We are getting a lot of mileage out of that word, as well as "hola" and "cerveza."

From time to time we could see all the way through the mountain range and down to the sea from our position high in the mountains. The two places we stopped were magical. The first was an open-air, thatched hut with a dirt floor. They were building an addition while we drank, using axes to hew the uprights from logs, then lashing the cross members to the uprights. Someone was sweeping the dirt floor with a bunch of branches. Stray dogs lazed in the heat. Fishermen beached their boats 100 feet away. Music was provided via a boom box hung in the ceiling. The owner kissed Jill and Kim goodbye, and handed us a few sour cherries as we left. She also took our map and pointed to a place further along the coast, Santa Ruisa, indicating that we should go there.

We rode through herds of cattle, being driven down the road by men and boys on horseback, crude but effective whips popping and cracking the herd along. Saddles were nothing more than foam rubber, folded over, or straw and burlap. Dogs slept in the street. The children we passed were so excited to see us. "Hola, Hola, Hola!" and frantic waves. The little towns were no bigger than a few shacks on either side of the dirt road.

Our second stop was at a seaside resort of some kind. Resort is probably not the correct word, as it was little more than a collection of tin-roofed, open-sided huts. But the food, cooked over a fire, was amazing. We watched the local fishermen, spearguns and fins in one hand, strings of fish in the other, sell their wares to the cooks. We must have been early, as it was almost deserted when we got there. Pickup trucks full of local families started to arrive as we were leaving. They must have been wealthy or from the city, as most people we saw traveled on the backs of burrows, horses, or small motorcycles.

Perhaps the best part of the day was this:
We met a man on motorcycle who, when we stopped and said, "Santa Ruisa," seemed to be going to our destination. He beckoned us to follow him. He pulled off to the side of the road, then led us down a muddy trail to the water. A man in a roughly-made wooden boat was ferrying motorcycles across, pulling the boat hand over hand along a rope stretched across the river. The bikes hung precariously over the side. It seemed so right, somehow. A motorized ferry would have been too much. And would most certainly have cost more than the $0.67 per bike we paid.

I love Luperon. I love the Dominican Republic.

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